To the casual visitor, the Gulf of Mexico shores offer mainly sun, sand, and sea. Even the standard field guides, focused on one group of animals or plants, barely hint at the wealth and diversity of habitats and species along Gulf shores. Shore Ecology of the Gulf of Mexico, using a whole habitat approach, breaks new ground in describing all the conspicuous vascular plants, algae, birds, mammals, mollusks, crustaceans, and other invertebrates for each marine habitat. The area covered begins west of the Mississippi delta in Louisiana and follows the shores west and south to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Transitions between habitats also receive detailed treatment. The authors discuss changes in flora and fauna that result from differences in climate, shore geology, and patterns of precipitation in the succeeding habitats along the Gulf rim. They include discussions of more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, both on shore and in the nearshore subtidal zone, to give a virtually complete picture of western Gulf coast ecosystems. Excellent line drawings and photographs of over 800 species complement the text. For marine scientists, students, and knowledgeable beachcombers, this is a complete source on Gulf coast marine life.